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Fashion’s future is written in the fabrics

I appreciate I’ve been a proper bore about how uninspiring I’ve found the seemingly eternally popular heritage trend, but when putting together this season’s performance special it brought into sharp focus just how old-fashioned the tweedathon is looking.

But praise be, salvation! For it would seem autumn 13 is a pivotal season for fabric technology, where some key designers have ditched the history books in favour of crystal balls as performance textiles take over.

The likes of Christopher Raeburn and Aitor Throup have been beating that drum in a fashion way for some time. But it seems this season a more significant pack of brands and designers have been looking beyond basic cottons and wools and into the future, taking modern materials and applying them to contemporary fashion.

Neoprene, Thinsulate, Gore-Tex, Dri-Fit - countless fabrics that have been developed to be practical are now being reinterpreted in more fashion-led ways.

From Cos to Calvin Klein, this movement has been infiltrating the industry over the past few seasons and is set to continue. As my colleague Graeme Moran’s report a fortnight ago showed, technology was at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the spring 14 edition of textile trade show Première Vision, prompting the show’s fashion director Pascaline Wilhelm to declare “this is the beginning of the end for the love of 100% wool, 100% cotton and 100% cashmere”.

Contrast bondings, waterproof tapings and stain-resistant, water-repellent, fast-drying and thermo-regulating coatings all represent a significant step into the future, but the real revolution will come when these materials and details become part of designers’ everyday repertoires, instead of being dismissed to the realms of ‘gymwear’ and ‘technical’ parkas. After all, it’s at the nexus between art and science that the magic happens.

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